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Hungary, Vietnam issue joint declaration on East Sea tensions

By Nhu Tam   September 25, 2017 | 09:00 am PT
Hungary, Vietnam issue joint declaration on East Sea tensions
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban chats with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc after a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Vietnam's PM has asked the EU to be more vocal regarding disputes in the troubled waters.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed on the need to solve tensions in the South China Sea through peaceful and lawful measures during a meeting in Hanoi on Monday.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the two leaders issued a joint declaration in which Vietnam asked Hungary and the European Union to be more vocal regarding the compliance of international laws in the troubled waters.

China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. The waters are known as the East Sea in Vietnam.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements in finance, education, labor and communications, as well as the establishment of the twin cities of Kaposvár in southwestern Hungary and Can Tho in southern Vietnam, where Hungary has funded a $70 million tumor hospital.

Orbán is in Vietnam for a three-day visit which wraps up Tuesday. He has also met with Vietnam’s top leaders, and is scheduled to attend a forum with Vietnamese and Hungarian businesses.

He said during a press briefing on Monday that Hungary wants to deepen ties and establish a strategic partnership with Vietnam, which according to analysts will be one of the fastest developing countries in the world for the next thirty years.

Vietnam and Hungary established diplomatic ties in 1950. Bilateral trade increased 36 percent to $266 million in 2016 compared to the previous year, and revenue rose 60 percent to $145 million in the first half of this year, according to a report on the government’s website.

Vietnam mainly exports garments, footwear, computers, electronic products, transport vehicles and spare parts to Hungary, and imports medicine, machinery, chemicals and animal feed.

Hungary has granted Vietnam $634.5 million in preferential loans and registered 15 investment projects with combined capital of more than $50.66 million, mostly in the processing and manufacturing, communications and real estate sectors.

More than 4,000 Vietnamese nationals are currently living and working in Hungary.

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